So what's life like in the lab, and in the fields? Three recently qualified science technicians have been telling local schoolchildren about their journeys from education to employment.

  • 06
  • APR
  • 2018

Encounters with employers can bring the world of work to life for young people. Three science technicians, who have just completed their apprentices at Rothamsted Research, have been telling their stories of the journey from education to employment.

Speaking to local schoolchildren, Alice Bellisai from Chemical Analysis, David Steele, from Crop Experimentation, and Hannah Walpole, from the Bioimaging Unit, set out what life in the lab, and in the field, is like for them now.

Alice Bellisai and student Credit: Rothamsted ResearchAlice Bellisai teaches a student how to pipette, during the STEM Employers' Day at Roundwood Park School

The STEM Employers’ Day, championed by local MP, Bim Afolami, and the Careers and Enterprise Company, was organised by the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and hosted by Roundwood Park School. The event, on Friday 23rd March, gave 90 Year-8 schoolchildren, from Roundwood Park and Sir John Lawes School, the opportunity to interact with seven local STEM employers.

“Rothamsted is at the heart of Harpenden. In fact, Harpenden was created around Rothamsted,” said Afolami. “Scientists from the institute interacting with these Year-8 kids, who are 13 years old, is such a powerful thing to build their appreciation and understanding of science and the world around them.”

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to raise the career aspirations of these children,” said Erin O’Rourke, Rothamsted's Public Engagement Manager. “Agriculture makes a major contribution to national and global prosperity. For this to continue we need young people to have a strong appreciation of food production and security, and inspire the next generation to pursue careers in agricultural science.”

O'Rourke added: “Alice, David and Hannah have done a fantastic job showing the children, in a fun and interactive way, the diversity of professions required in this sector and that it is an exciting and rewarding career path.”

Sarah Yong, Head of Government Relations at The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “We are trying to join the dots for young people - to bring together employers, schools, teachers, young people and the Local Enterprise Partnership.”

Yong added: "This day is an amazing example of these efforts. We have local STEM employers, such as Rothamsted, helping the kids to step in the shoes of a scientist.”

About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes

About LAT
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.